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23. St. Simons Island, Georgia

Dates: April 22-29, 2022


The Drive

It's time to cross the state line and head north. After 3 months in Florida, I'm excited to see what else the East Coast has to offer.


My eldest (that's just a fancy way to say oldest 😉) sister Jenny called to catch up while I was driving. She's been one of the people asking when I was going to "settle down". Settle is a bad word to me. It sounds like giving up.


Today she planted a new seed: I could buy a house back home and fix it up - use it as a home base when I need a break from traveling. We started day dreaming about remodeling an old house. I am tired of a new bed every week. Hmm...


When an idea catches my attention, it's hard to shake.


Getting to St. Simons Island requires a few bridges and a 2 lane highway over marshland. It's beautiful. Like nothing I've ever seen in person. I wish I'd have stopped for a picture, but 2 lane highways aren't set up for roadside sightseeing.


What's that scent?

When I open the car door I get a wafting of jasmine! The entire island is covered in it. I think more towns need to take up this practice of planting jasmine.


Can no wifi be a blessing?

The condo I rented left a lot to be desired. It was pretty in photos but dirty upon arrival. The owners moved me from the second floor to a unit next to the pool. To extend this first world frustration, the entire building's wifi was down. The WHOLE week I was there. This forced me to get out in search of a connection.


My phone was able to get enough signal to check email when I had it outside on the edge of the patio by the pool. I went outside to check my phone occasionally. That's when I met Suzy and Jeremy. They were doing what you're supposed to do on a Saturday by the pool: relax.


She was wondering why someone would leave their phone on the patio unattended. He teased that someone was listening to their conversation. When I appeared, we began to compare notes on the rental company. They didn't have ANY toilet paper! I gave them my extra roll. That's just not something anyone should go without. And I think it solidified our friendship.


They are both in the Army and have seen a lot of horrific things. I plan to be friends with them both for a long time so it doesn’t feel right to share all their stories here.


We had great conversations around the pool and over dinner that evening. I have mad respect for our troops. Talking to a soldier face to face gives a new perspective on war.

Mellow Mushroom Mindset

I read a lot on mindset for business and life. How to be happy. How to be successful. How to live better. Lots of the advice comes back to meditation and being grateful. Mainstream meditation experts typically strike me as too woo woo. Flaky almost. I have to relate the meditation advice back to prayer to God for it to make sense to me.


Then I meet P.V. He’s an Army Veteran who served in Vietnam and Dessert Storm. We had a delightful conversation on a patio one beautiful afternoon while I was borrowing wifi from The Mellow Mushroom. He shared his experience with mindset. Our brain is just a computer. It takes commands that are input. It’ll do what you tell it to do. He used this mindset when his ears were ringing during battle. Something about hearing a strong man who’s seen war, has faith in God, and enjoys a beer, now has me respecting and wanting to use these woo woo techniques. Just tell your brain what you want it to do. And pray.


This is another PSA to be grateful that we live in America. Don’t waste the freedom we enjoy that so many people fought for and continue to fight so hard to defend.


Daily Routine: Mass then Coffee

St. William Catholic Church: I made it to daily mass a few mornings during the week. Some reflections from prayer time:

  • Being aware of what other think isn't bad. It's considerate. Being inordinately preoccupied with what others think is vanity. Something I'm still working on.

  • There's a difference between what God wants and what He allows. He allows a lot because of the hardness of our hearts. God's call is always higher. Look for His original plan.

  • Traditional is broader than scripture. Not all of Jesus' works could be written down and so we rely on both traditional and scripture.


After getting my daily dose of the Lord, I set up shop at a local coffee joint, The Wake Up Coffee Co. They pumped in the AC so I went BYOB: Bring Your Own Blanket. They did have THE BEST chai latte. The mix they use was just the right balance of sweet and spice. And their wifi... oh baby, did it work!



Forget the Weather App. Get the Tides App.

These steps lead to the beach half of the day. I've heard songs about tides. It wasn't until now that I witnessed it. I couldn't really tell high tide vs low in Florida. Here, the beach gets completely covered by 8 feet of water at high tide. Beware beach goers where you set up your umbrellas and chairs!

The neighboring Sea Island is where higher society vacations. They had white sand brought in for their beach, but the tides kept sweeping it away down to St. Simons Island. I think they tried moving in back a few times, but finally gave up. And now St. Simons has a beautiful white beach on the ocean side!

Trolley Tour of St. Simons Island

Murphy’s Bar and Island Tree Spirits. The story goes that Keith had a big bar tab at Murphy's. The bar owner said he had to pay it off. Keith says he’s a master carver and will create a work of art (instead of paying cash). Overnight he carved a face in a tree by the bar. The townsfolk liked it so much he was asked to carve more around town. And now it's a fun tourist attraction. Checkout TripAdvisor for more photos.


The Battle of Bloody Marsh (click for photos). It sounds more ominous than it was according to local legend. The Brits were after the Spanish. Stories were told that the marsh ran red with blood!


Christ Church (click for photos). The church is surrounded by a graveyard and huge oaks covered in Spanish moss. When the sun hits the trees just right, you can feel it in your soul. The tour I took was in the afternoon so I didn't have a life altering experience. I did enjoy the stories told of different folks buried there.


Someone famous got married here years ago and was on the cover of Bride Magazine. After that the church was constantly hit up for weddings from out of towners. They now have a rule that you or your parents have to be active members to have a wedding there.


SSI Lighthouse Museum. This museum captures the way of a lighthouse keeper. He had to haul gallons of fuel up 104 feet of stairs to keep the light burning for seafarers. It's even said to be haunted! One of the keepers was shot and killed by his assistant after making a comment about his assistant's wife. Read the details here. I was there during the day so I felt safe. Everyone knows that ghosts only come out at night, right?

Can I make it to the top?

Easy peasy! It's windy up here.



World War II Home Front Museum. So many WWII museums capture the stories of our heroes and the horrors of what happened overseas. But I've never stopped to think what it was like stateside.


German submarines were patrolling our coastlines. Americans were told to keep lights out at night so the Germans couldn't see silhouette targets. There were posters hung all over town that it's on YOU if you don't turn out your lights and someone gets hit.


American troops rode horses on the beaches during the day spotting subs.


Can you imagine? I try to picture how I'd have responded to all of that. It's hard to fathom when my biggest fear is no wifi. Ok, so the biggest fear is dying alone. No wifi is a close second though.

Nearby Brunswick, GA was home of the shipyard for Liberty Ships. From 1943-45, they constructed 99 cargo ships. Names weren't painted on their bows to prevent the enemy from knowing their mission.


This is when women went to work - in pants! - building ships during the day then they gussied up in dresses in the evenings to entertain the troops.


Is this when working 24/7 became a badge of honor? Is it our duty as an American to work hard? Things I ponder as I sip wine on a porch feeling like I should be doing more.


A POW Reunited

The war ends. Husband was a POW. He comes home. Wife meets him with a hug and kiss. It's been a long time. Too long. She has tears in her eyes.


Husband: Why are you crying? I'm home!

Wife: I welded the ship that brought you home.


Pause for effect.


Husband: If I would've known that, I'd have stayed!


I imagine him laughing and kissing her head as he said it.


The posters from that era make me laugh, too. Of course she could do it! Women are pretty tough. They've been having babies since the beginning of time.



I'm guessing this is when we got it engrained in our female brains that we have something to prove. Did our grandmothers pass it down? I wish I'd have asked my grandmas what it was like during that time. They were both in Kansas so I don't know how much they'd have experienced on the home front.


This story is worth the read. Good can come from something as bad as war.


Kicking Out Unwanted Guests

Another story from the condo... I had a roommate. His name is Frank. He liked to scare me when I went to shower.

Oh, Frank. We can't be together forever.

I let him go in the wild of the bushes by the pool. I'm sure he's happier without my death threats.


Sunrises

Words aren't really necessary here. I walked to the beach for sunrise most mornings.


Kayaking the Marshes


The kayak guide is a middle school history teacher. He dresses up in costume to teach. How cool is that?!


He also said that the Battle of Bloody Marsh wasn't actually that bloody. 🤷🏻‍♀️


Next Time

Lynx boat

Hampton Point in the evening to see wildlife

Crap Trap for dinner

Geechee Island


Would I visit again?

Oh yes! Of all the places I’ve been this is the friendliest. I met a couple my first night in town and hung out with them 3 times during my one week there!


Would I live here?

Maybe…


Enthusiasm level: Started with an 8 then down to a 5 because of internet issues. Back up to an 8 because I got to checkout early and heading to another island next!


Here’s to staying connected,

Megan “Give Me Wifi or Give Me Death (not really, it's an historical funny)” Giles


Placeholder for a fun shirt design to commemorate the trip.

Unedited by another. Typos are on the house.


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